‘Expect more SA tourists’

Johannesburg - Emerging-market destinations are expected to experience a rise in international arrivals the next 20 years, Tourism Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk said on Tuesday.

“Over the next 20 years, international tourist arrivals in emerging-economy destinations are expected to grow at double the pace (four percent) of advanced-economy destinations.

Marthinus van Schalkwyk. Photo: Matthew Jordaan. Credit: Independent Newspapers

“As a result, arrivals in emerging economies will likely surpass those in advanced economies by 2015,” said Van Schalkwyk.

He was speaking at the Forum Panrotas Tourism Trends Summit in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

The minister said most of the outbound tourism growth would be from Asia, Latin America and the rest of the African continent.

“GDP growth, travel propensity as well as expanded airlift render the emerging markets very attractive source markets.”

He told the forum the tourism summit came at the perfect time, as South Africa was preparing to host the fifth Brics Summit, which was an ideal opportunity for the world's leading emerging economies to share strategies to advance mutually beneficial developments, including tourism.

The Brics (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa group of countries) summit, to be hosted for the first time in Africa, will be held in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, next Tuesday and Wednesday.

Van Schalkwyk said that while he was in Sao Paulo, he would meet his Brazilian counterpart, Gaston Vieira, to discuss ways of broadening and intensifying the nations' co-operation on tourism issues.

“As the Brics bloc, we should not underestimate our collective influence. We represent 43 percent of the world's population and approximately a fifth of global gross domestic product (GDP), and we have combined foreign reserves estimated at US4.4 trillion,” said Van Schalkwyk.

He also shared lessons learnt by South Africa while hosting the 2010 Fifa World Cup soccer tournament.

Brazil has won the bid to host the sporting event next year.

“Never allow the sceptics to get to you. You have well-considered plans; you understand best how this mega-event will act as a catalyst for the development of your destination and its branding,” said Van Schalkwyk.

He advised Brazil to manage its reputation carefully, taking care not to scare off potential travellers, as the rest of the world would be watching it closely throughout the event. - Sapa